A New Day

Bright
Sunshine
Ushers in
A new day
Along with it
A new perspective
Yesterday
The sky was
Sleepy
Gray
Still
Do you think
Like us, it also
Needed rest?
Thinking
Quiet
Still
Appreciating
Each moment
Given
Accepting
Each goodbye
Spoken
Certain
The sweetest
Symbol
For love
Rooted deep
In our hearts
Is a smile
Accompanied
By tears

We will be driving home today. And though I am confident in my dad’s medical care and progress, it was hard to say goodbye.

This morning, the sun shone brightly on Pinnacle Mountain. A landmark that was crucial in my growing up years. Whether viewing it from a distance or standing on its peak, always enamored with its beauty.

When trying to explain where I grew up. Have you heard of Pinnacle Mountain? I grew up out in the country, about three miles from there.

I was thankful for its beautiful colors this morning to guide us out.

I will be back soon! ❤️

My Moon

Big, bright
Beautiful
Moon
Lighting up
The morning sky
Wish I could
Follow you
See where you
Would lead
Instead of
Turning away
Leaving you
Behind me
If my Dad were here
He would smile and say
Look! There’s Kelley’s moon!
As if I was still
That little girl
Claiming you
As my own
And not a
Grown woman
Driving herself
To work
On this early
Morning-
You know
Maybe I will
Claim you
As my own
…just for today

Simply Sunday

Father’s Day

Five days
Waiting
As doctors
Prepared
To repair
To replace
Pieces of
Your heart
Restoring
Strength to
The rhythm
Of your days
Five days
Worth
Waiting

I snapped the first photo on Dad’s first day in the hospital. Due to COVID regulations, visitations were limited and only one of us at a time, so I was thankful for these moments. The second was on the day he was released to go home after open-heart surgery. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you! ❤️

The Key

Room is quiet
Only a steady
Sound of air
Flowing from
A plastic tube
Occasional
Snore from Dad
Glass doors
Provide a window
To the hallway
Doctors walking past
Carts rolling by
With food, linens,
Cleaning supplies-
Right outside sits
The faithful one
Never far away
Caring for others
Keeping track of
Vital signs
Medication
Answering questions
Calming fears-
I know it is
A team effort
But I believe
Nurses hold the key

I wrote this poem while sitting with my Dad in ICU after his open-heart surgery. I was amazed by and thankful for the care he received, especially his nurses. ❤

Gone Fishing

I have not thought about going fishing in a long time. As a child, I used to go all the time with my Dad. He still calls me his fishing buddy.

Today, all I could think about is the chance to go fishing again with my Dad.

He is currently in the hospital. A test this morning revealed an artery blockage and heart valve problem. So, he will be having open-heart surgery on Friday morning.

I am thankful for a job where I was able to just pick up and go. I needed to be with my parents. And when I called to tell Mom we were on our way, what do you think my Dad mentioned? Oh, yes-his fishing buddy.

I saw him this afternoon. He looks good. We talked about what was happening and how much better he will feel after recovery. And I told him, maybe this summer we would have to go fishing.

For My Dad

My dad loves classic country music. Growing up, we would always listen to The Grand Ole Opry on AM radio, static and all. Sometimes, it would drive me crazy but thinking about it now makes me smile.

He also had quite a collection of 8 track tapes, all country, that we would listen to in his truck. Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty were some of his favorites. And though I don’t currently listen much to country music, I loved listening to it back then.

That love stemmed from two things. First, it was, and still is, great music. But more importantly, it was my dad’s music. And for that reason, it will continue to influence my life.

Music has so much variety, so many genres. Each new style influenced by the previous. Whether I like them all or not, I can appreciate them for their place in music history.

I have recently shared some recordings of myself playing favorites on the piano. They’ve included some Classical Scarlatti, Romantic Brahms, hymns and James Taylor. Honestly, no country songs crossed my mind…until now.

My mom called after listening to my latest recording. We chatted for a few minutes. As we were about to say goodbye, I could hear my dad in the background. My mom chuckled and said, “Dad says you need to record his favorite song.”

So, what is his favorite song? It is a piano solo recorded by country musician Floyd Cramer in 1960. If my dad ever has a music request for me, it is that song. I learned to play it years ago.

Why had I not thought to record this song already? I do not know.

Here ya go, Dad! ❤

Last Date

When Your Dad is the Principal

As I reflect on yesterday’s graduation ceremonies, my thoughts keep floating back to my husband, Gart. He is a career educator, twenty-six years now. His path began with band directing and moved through various levels of administration. Because of this, our kids’ educational experiences included “Dad as principal.”

What is it like when your dad is the principal? I’m sure my kids would have things to add, but today I’ll share my perspective.

When the kids were younger, elementary and junior high age, it meant riding the bus to his school in the afternoons. It meant exploring every inch of his building. It meant finding all the secret hiding places while staying out of trouble.

As they got older, the meaning changed. The following questions should help paint the picture.

  • Do I need to spend the day with you at your school?
  • Do I need to contact your teacher?
  • Exactly why have you not turned in your assignments this week?

Those questions and the conversations which followed carried a heavier weight than their earlier building adventures. They were only matched by statements like these:

  • I received a call/email today from your principal/teacher.
  • I contacted your teacher today, and you will be…
  • Due to your choices, you will not be able to…

Thankfully, these did not happen often. But when they did, they were not taken lightly. There were some difficult, uncomfortable conversations around the dinner table. But we all survived and are stronger because of them.

Experiencing their dad as principal also meant wisdom and guidance in planning for the future. He witnessed the impact poor choices can have on a student’s future many times. And although he was always ready to share advice or answer questions, he encouraged them to choose their own path.

“Just do you,” he still loves to tell them.

There is no question as to the best part of “dad as principal.” When each of them completed high school and walked across that graduation stage, Dad was waiting there to greet them. He stood with open arms, ready to hand them their diploma, and say, “Congratulations! I’m so proud of you!” And just as quickly, he watched them walk away.

Of course, Gart is much more than “principal” to our three kids. But the impact that title had on our family will be felt for years to come. It helped shape the three of them into amazing young adults.

Each of our children has their own goals and aspirations. Each shows the determination to see them fulfilled. Most importantly, each of them loves their dad. And from my perspective, that’s what happens when your dad is the principal.